A Guide to Wine Tasting in Santa Maria Valley

Everything you need to know about wine tasting in the Santa Maria Valley.

It’s no secret that California’s Central Coast is a world-renowned wine-growing region. The unique geography of the Santa Maria Valley pairs perfectly with the temperate Central Coast weather. This dynamic duo produces a Mediterranean climate that allows wine grapes to spend extra time on the vine developing complex and unique flavor profiles. The result is universally loved and easy-to-pair Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Read on for our favorite ways to taste your way through more than 30 winery tasting rooms in Santa Maria Valley wine country.

Hop on the Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley

The award-winning Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley runs a route to some of the region’s most popular wineries every weekend from May to October. The trolley route begins in Old Town Orcutt, near the CORE Winery Tasting Room, Naughty Oak Brewing Company, Blast 825 Brewery and Vino et Amicis, as well as many dining establishments. The trolley makes stops at Presqu’ile Winery, Cottonwood Canyon Winery and Costa de Oro Winery. The route takes about an hour, and your ticket allows you to step on and off the trolley at your leisure all day. You can buy tickets for the Wine Trolley at several wineries and other venues in Santa Maria and Orcutt. Check here for more information.

Explore the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail

The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail is a 30-mile stretch of road between Santa Maria and Los Olivos that’s host to 14 wineries. While visiting any of the wineries on the trail, you’ll be rewarded with delicious wines and stunning views of vineyard-lined roads and hillsides shrouded in fog. You can cruise the trail in your car but be sure to have a designated driver. You can finish your Foxen Canyon trip in Old Town Orcutt where you can have dinner and a celebratory glass (or two!) of wine.

Take a Guided Cycling Tour

If you bring a bike to the valley, you can take a cycling tour of the region guided by local winemaker, winery owner and former semi-pro cyclist, Dave Corey. Dave owns CORE Winery, and he started the Bike & Bottle Project to provide guided cycling tours for locals and tourists alike. Dave’s in-depth knowledge of the region allows you to customize each tour based on distance, elevation and difficulty.

Wine Taste for Less

The Santa Maria Valley boasts some of the best wine on the Central Coast and the second-oldest AVA in California. But one of the best parts about our valley is that you can see and do more. You can take a wine weekend getaway for two people for $500 or less. Be sure to bring your hotel key card with you when you go wine tasting, because if you show it at participating wineries—including Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery, Cottonwood Canyon Winery, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery and others—you can receive a tasting for free!

Things to Do in Santa Maria Valley

Featured Events